Valencia street live music venue the Chapel will usher in its revitalized bar and restaurant, now called Curio, next Friday, June 22nd. The new food and drink menus from chef Mario Tolentino and bar director Darren Crawford are part of an effort to enliven the spirit of the place, newly re-decorated with dali-esque artwork by Michael Brennan. (Take a look at both below.)
At a venue where one evening draws the folk rock crowd and the next brings in death metal enthusiasts, tastes are likely to vary by the night. Tolentino (previously of The Market on Market, Betelnut, and Fog City Diner) hopes all will find something to like on his menu of regional American food, like hush puppies, fried chicken, kale salad, and a “holy grail” burger.
Crawford has created cocktail menus at bars like the Devil’s Acre, and here has designed drinks in keeping with Brennan’s whimsical artwork. “The beauty for the name and concept is it opens the door for a lot of fun,” Crawford says. His drinks — which are available in the restaurant and bar area, but not inside the concert hall itself — are named for mythical creatures: Examples include the Unicorn (vodka, pisco, strawberry, Szechuan lemon, amaro, benedictine, rainbow bitters, egg whites) which comes out light pink and “super fluffy” with three different garnishes.
“I couldn’t get rainbows to shoot out of it —but it’s as close to a unicorn as any drink I’ve ever seen,” he jokes.
For something more spiritous, Crawford recommends the Phoenix (George Dickel rye, mezcal, Jamaican rum, curacao, green chartreuse, vanilla, ghost pepper, mole). It sits on an activated charcoal ice cube, so the drink gets darker as it melts.